Showing posts with label Colton Worley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colton Worley. Show all posts

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bettie Page Vol 1 by David Avallone, Colton Worley, Craig Cermak, Esau Figueroa, Bane Duncan Wade, Sarah Fletcher, Brittany Pezzillo

Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

This took me by surprise, and pleasantly so because it wasn't at all what I expected. Frankly I'm not sure what I expected except that I hoped it would be fun - and it was. It was a great romp and put the renowned Bettie Page in a spotlight I'm willing to bet she was never in before - that of government agent! bettie was a real life pin-up girl, probably the last of the truly "innocent" models there was; her pictures were very cheeky but seemingly to outside eyes to be all in good fun. At least, she seems from her expressions in her images to be having a rare old time.

But this novelization isn't about that at all. All of that is just background to her 'real' life, in which she helps fight pinkos and weirdos in New York and Los Angeles. The story collects a four part serial story and a bonus one-off story together into one volume. Bettie doesn't plan this career, it simply befalls her as her modeling plans take an unanticipated wrong turn at the start of the story. Everything else is more like a comedy of errors, with Bettie being in the wrong place at the wrong time until she takes charge of her own fate and starts making things happen instead of having them happen to her.

The story is right on - with a nice line of fifties banter, and the artwork is wonderfully evocative - except for once or twice when the blue-eyed Bettie is shown with brown eyes or even green eyes at one point! She's also depicted as being a little more lanky and boney than the more normally -proportioned real-life Bettie who was only five-two and comfortably rounded without being overweight.

No one obsessed about not being skinny enough back them - at least not as commonly as we encounter it today because women were not conditioned to feel inadequate in the way our modern society seems intent upon rendering them (when it can!). It would have been nice to have seen this reflected better in the drawings and not just on the 'covers'.

Virtually all models were short and normally proportioned back then! As were actresses: Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe for example, were the same height as Bettie and no more "hourglass" than was she, and no one consider what today would be described as 'chubby' knees, as being out of place, nor was body hair for that matter. How far we've slid down the wrong chute since then!

ost of the fifties pop-culture references were right one as well, as far as I could tell, except for one mention of Ian Fleming. The story was set in 1951, and Fleming was unknown at that time since he had not yet penned his first James Bond adventure. He didn’t write Casino Royale until 1952 and it wasn’t published until 1953. It wasn’t published in the USA until 1954! The only other problem i spotted was on page 89 (as depicted on the tablet reader - the comic pages themselves are not numbered) where I read “The exist to be ruled." I'm guessing that should have been “They exist to be ruled”

There was the welcome but unlikely addition of a black female police officer. It was welcome to see a person of color in this story, but there were no female police officers in the USA 1951 to my knowledge. Atlanta did, believe it or not, have black male cops as early as 1948, but even then, they weren’t allowed to patrol white neighborhoods or work in police headquarters! We've come a long way but nowhere near far enough.

So, overall, I loved this story and look forward to reading more. I recommend this as a fun and original adventure series with a strong and fascinating female lead.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Shadow Now by David Liss

Title: The Shadow Now
Author: David Liss
Publisher: Dynamite
Rating: WORTHY!

Illustrated by Colton Worley.
Lettered by Rob Steen and Simon Bowland

The Shadow stories - which predate Batman by almost a decade - arose in the 1930s as pulp novels. The Shadow's 'real' name was actually Kent Allard. The name he's known most popularly by (Lamont Cranston) is an alias, but it seems to have become his actual name over time, and is the one used in this graphic novel, which is a reboot of the character, revitalized for modern times. The graphics are truly stunning and appropriately dark, and the story works well.

I became a fan of The Shadow from the eponymous movie released in 1994. It starred Alec Baldwin in the titular role, with the excellent John Lone as Shiwan Khan and the perfectly cast Penelope Ann Miller as Margo Lane (and let's not forget the contributions from Ian McKellen, Tim Curry, and Jonathan Winters). It really didn't do well at the box office, but I loved this movie. It's an excellent way to get a quick introduction to the early days of The Shadow if you're thinking about taking up this series - although the movie and this graphic novel are not connected.

Appropriately published by Dynamite(!), the new and fresh premise here is that because of his Far East training, The Shadow can prolong his life, and he left the US in the thirties for several decades, doing a bit of a Captain America by then returning in contemporary times and in this case, posing as his own grandson. This was fine, except that then we seem to have a veritable plethora of grandkids popping out of the woodwork, all with the original mission statement still intact in their DNA.

This is how we get a Margo (who was originally a Margot) Lane, now named Margo Forsythe, who is the granddaughter of the original Margo, but who nonetheless looks like her grandmother did at that age. Here's a bit of interesting trivia: Margo was initially played on the radio by Agnes Moorehead who played Samantha the witch's mom in the TV show Bewitched.

We also get the granddaughter of Shiwan Khan, The Shadow's original arch-nemesis, who himself is now an old man in jail. His teen granddaughter is brought in from her life of petty crime (taking advantage of her inherited ability to sway people's minds) to join the organization and become Shiwan's official heir, but this struck me as a little odd since it's actually Shiwan's plan to literally rejuvenate himself. This does allow for some serious and amusing conflict between the old guard/old man and the new, rebellious teen, however, which I really appreciated. it paralleled the exchanged between Margo and Lamont.

The Shadow discovers that things have changed dramatically during his sabbatical. 'Margo' is no longer a defenseless and retiring socialite he remembers. Margo 3.0 i a dedicated and deadly agent, and her amusing observations on The Shadow's anachronistic ineptitude are welcome. The Shadow's organization has continued to run in his absence, taken care of by his many trusted associates, but his methods are antiquated, and he initially finds himself out of his depth and frustrated with his team, which is beginning to fall apart at the seams. This lends confidence to his enemies, who believe they can finally vanquish him.

Of course, they're wrong! I recommend this novel.